"Araz Valley" - future driver of Karabakh industrialisation
    Review by Caliber.Az

    ANALYTICS  29 November 2022 - 12:38

    Khazar Akhundov

    For the third year now the government has been implementing a large-scale program to revive the Azerbaijani territories liberated from occupation. The First State Program "Great Return to the Liberated Territories of Azerbaijan" recently approved by the head of state aims to accelerate the construction of road, energy, and utility infrastructure, equipping of towns and villages for the return of internally displaced persons. The most important component of the State Program is the formation of agro-industrial clusters in the Karabakh region, and the attraction of investors to create jobs for future settlers. The next step in this direction was the completion of the construction of a mobile town in the industrial park "Araz Valley Economic Zone".

    A little more than two years have passed since the end of the Patriotic War, and in this relatively short time, Azerbaijan has been able to make significant progress in the process of rebuilding the territories of the republic liberated from the Armenian occupation. In parallel with the process of land demining and the creation of the primary infrastructure in the Karabakh and East Zangazur economic regions, the basis for the subsequent development of the industrial and agricultural potential of the region is being formed. Thus, since August of this year, residents of the largest in the region "Aghdam Industrial Park" have begun work on the construction of the first industrial facilities. The formation of the second industrial-logistic cluster - "Araz Valley Economic Zone", where primary infrastructure is created on the area of 200 hectares near the village Soltanli of Jabrayil district since October last year, is also advancing.

    According to the decree of the head of state, the responsibilities of the operator in the new industrial park, which is to become the largest industrial zone of the East Zangazur economic region, are entrusted to the Agency for Development of Economic Zones functioning within the Ministry of Economy. This territory had been completely cleared of mines and unexploded ordnance by the beginning of this year, and then the Agency started to create primary social, communal, transport, and energy infrastructure in the new industrial park. In particular, as of today, works on perimeter fencing of the industrial zone have been completed, construction of an administrative building, a 40 MVA power substation has begun and a site for the future filling station has been allocated.

    The logical continuation of these works was the completion of the construction of a mobile town in the "Araz Valley": container-type dormitories were created in the industrial park, and modular structures were also used to create offices, a pharmacy, a warehouse, a store, a canteen, and other service facilities. "In order to revive Karabakh and develop the industrial potential of the region all the necessary social infrastructure was created on a 200 hectares area. The work carried out in the industrial park will give an impetus to the reintegration of the region into the country's economy, development of local production, and create additional opportunities for increasing employment," Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov said on November 28.

    Thus, the creation of basic infrastructure is close to completion in Jabrayil industrial park, and soon entrepreneurs will be able to begin the implementation of their projects. KAMAZ Lizinq Azərbaycan LLC was the first to receive the status of a resident of the industrial park, and the company is already carrying out construction work. The company plans to create service units for the maintenance and repair of trucks and agricultural machinery on an area of 1.5 hectares. In addition, six projects of entrepreneurs intending to become residents of the industrial park are under consideration - the investment value of these initiatives is estimated at more than 30 million manats and provides the creation of over 400 permanent jobs. So, Prestij-Kimya LLC has recently received the resident status of "Araz Valley" zone, planning to build a plant for the production of disinfectants and liquid detergents, as well as bleach, having invested 4.8 million manats in the project and created 157 new jobs.

    In the longer term, the industrial clusters formed in Aghdam and Jabrayil districts can be involved in more large-scale initiatives. In particular, the resident of the Sumgayit Chemical Industrial Park (SCPP), Az-Tech Import Ltd is planning to implement a project to assemble Italian IVECO Daily trucks from component parts, as well as the production of spare parts and individual components for vehicles.

    In general, the "Araz Valley Economic Zone" is planned to focus on the production and processing (including recycling) of agricultural and industrial products, including the production of metal structures, facing and insulation materials, various ligatures. In the future, significant investments are also expected in the production of building materials: the Jabrayil region has five million cubic meters of sand deposits, as well as gravel, volcanic ash, and rock for the production of sawn stone, clay for bricks, cement raw materials, plaster, lime, jasper, and in the foothills there are deposits of iron and chrome - a base for producing ore concentrates. Notably, the industrial cluster in the Jabrayil region will rely on the use of renewable energy sources: BP eyes building a 240-megawatt solar power plant there.

    It is also planned to establish here the production of organic fertilizers, silk processing, and organise textile and carpet weaving industries. Cold rooms will be installed in the industrial zone, a storage infrastructure will be created, and small service structures will be set up.

    On the whole, the cluster territory will be divided into agricultural, industrial, social and technical zones. According to deputy chairman of Industrial Zone Development Agency Elkhan Shiriyev, "Araz Valley Economic Zone" is mainly focused on the creation of logistics centers, and one resident is already registered here and plans to organize vehicle maintenance service, and another non-resident intends to create a petrol station. And over time, this zone will have logistics and shopping centers, warehouses, wholesale and retail facilities, heavy vehicle fleets, customs, gas stations, and car and other equipment repair facilities.

    It is worth noting that the opportunities for the development of agricultural potential in the "Araz Valley" are quite extensive, given the capacious resource base of Jabrayil district. The availability of about 60 thousand hectares of fertile land, abundant subsurface water, and the proximity of the Araz River and Khudaferin Reservoir contribute to the rapid revival of viticulture, cotton growing, horticulture, and cattle breeding. The area, which during the Soviet Union had about 300 tons of silkworm cocoons, also plans mass planting of mulberry trees and establishment of silk fiber production. There is a high potential for creating enterprises in the sphere of processing and packaging of agricultural products: preliminary plans envisage attracting residents to the production of canned fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat products, soft drinks and wine products, and mixed fodder.

    The plain and foothill parts of Jabrayil district have enough free areas suitable for laying out vineyards on terraces, which makes it easy to grow both early and late varieties of grapes. Mountain massifs protect the gentle slopes of the Araz lowland from cold masses, and a large number of sunny days and relatively hot summers, as well as fertile soil and abundance of subsoil moisture, allow for high yields and have a positive impact on the quality of grape wine, brandy, etc. It is possible that, over time, a winemaking cluster may appear in the industrial park "Araz Valley Economic Zone".


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